Summit Snowboarders begin quest for four

MT. HOOD MEADOWS — The Summit Snowboard Team began its run at a fourth straight state title Jan. 12 by dominating the field in the first Boardercross race of 2002.

Led by Elie Meierbachtol, who finished second overall with a time of 41.12 seconds, the girls team took first place by 16 seconds over Barlow.

The boys Varsity I team also cleaned up, winning first place by more than 11 seconds over Barlow’s Varsity I team. Summit Varsity II finished in third place.

Just as he did all last season, Ben Connors whitewashed the competition and won first place in 34.35 seconds. Connors would be a lock to win the Gorge League individual title if it weren’t for his teammates.

He’s sure to be watching his back all year because the Summit Varsity I team also took second through fourth places on the day.

Paul Rovianek timed in just three-tenths of a second behind Connors at 34.65, while Colin Franger (35.88) finished third and Matt McClure (37.24) fourth.

“I don’t see our guys getting beat by anyone this year,” assistant coach Steve Grace said. “No one else can really come close to the talent and depth on our team.”

Demonstrating Summit’s depth on Saturday were Todd Anderson (37.35, 7th overall), Tad Hukari (38.30, 10th overall), Jordan Schmidt (38.87, 11th overall), Isaac Stranz (40.07, 15th overall), and Danny Rawson (40.57, 19th overall).

Grace said that because the team has so many talented riders, the Varsity I, II and III teams may change from race to race. McClure, for example, raced on the Varsity III team and managed to overtake the entire Varsity II team and three members of the Varsity I team to earn fourth place overall.

The girls team will also have some competition on the roster as the season progresses, with Meierbachtol and Jenny Page leading the way, and Lisa Page and Meghan Ferns not far behind.

Jenny Page missed Saturday’s race due to injury, but younger sister Lisa performed well, taking fourth overall with a time of 42.79. Ferns finished in 46.81, good for sixth place in the field of 15 racers.

Melissa Holmes finished seventh at 51.73 and Tessa Kelleher ninth at 55.73 to round out the girls team results.

Grace was complimentary of both teams, but pointed to Meierbachtol’s leadership and improvement since last year that will help the Summit girls’ chances of repeating as state champs in 2002.

“Elie’s improvement has been the biggest surprise,” he said. “The girls will really be looking to her and Jenny Page to lead them this year.”

Next up for Summit is another Boardercross race on Jan. 26, followed by Slopestyle — a course-based freestyle competition — on Feb. 9, and Half Pipe on Feb. 23.

“We can’t wait for Slopestyle,” Grace said. “Both teams should do just as well as they did on Saturday. They’re phenoms.”

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